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The Carthage Press
  • Bids open to fix Jasper railroad crossing

  • After about two years of planning and negotiations with the railroad, bids were open on Tuesday on a project to fix a tricky railroad crossing north of Jasper on Main Street.
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  • After about two years of planning and negotiations with the railroad, bids were open on Tuesday on a project to fix a tricky railroad crossing north of Jasper on Main Street.
    The road takes a sharp jog at the railroad crossing, but a hill obscures the view of it from one direction.
    Jasper County Eastern District Commissioner Jim Honey said more drivers use the road since the state built the interchange that carries Missouri Highway 126 over Interstate 49 and built an outer road on the west side of the interstate that connects Main Street in Jasper to Missouri 126.
    Plans are to smooth out the jog and add railroad crossing lights and gates.
    Honey said the county received two bids on the road construction part of the project and both came in under the expected cost of $200,000.
    Emery Sapp & Sons Construction, out of Springfield, put in the low bid of $159,651.53. The other bid, from Snyder Construction, Joplin, was $195,980.
    Honey said the state will pay for the railroad crossing lights and gates.
    Michael R. Atkinson, engineer with Allgeier Martin and Associates, the engineer on the project, said he will make sure the math on the bids is correct and return to the commissioners with a recommendation in the next few days.
    Budget woes
    In other business, the commissioners heard an update from Jasper County Auditor Richard Webster on the state of the county's budget.
    Webster said the county finished November with $203,000 in the bank, more than $500,000 less than it had in the bank in November 2012.
    He said the proposed general revenue budget calls for an end-of-year balance in the county's bank accounts of $1,540,503, but he estimates the county will actually have only $856,000 in its carry-over.
    He said county tax collections usually surge at the end of the year as property owners come in to pay their property taxes and other fees, and if tac collections come in at the same level as they did last year, the county might have enough money in its carry-over accounts to balance its budget.
    If tax collections are less than they were last year, the county will have to consider making cuts somewhere.
    Webster said the county will have to spend an extra $214,000 to hold the every-other-year primary and general elections this year.
    In addition, county spending in the general fund has consistently exceeded revenues by about $100,000 every month this year.
    The commissioners decided to wait until closer to the end of the year to see how revenues come in this month before accepting the budget. State law requires the county to have a budget in place by Jan. 10.
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